Belize’s multi-million-dollar radar useless in detecting drug planes
BELIZE CITY, Wed. Apr. 25, 2018– The transshipment of drugs through Belize has entered a new phase of sophistication after a twin engine jet plane landed on the San Estevan / Progresso Village Road, located about 3 miles out of San Estevan village, Orange Walk District, early yesterday morning, Tuesday.
The Hawker Siddeley 225 jet (wing span: 14.32m (47 ft 0in), length: 14.42m (47 ft 5in) (It has also been classified by some experts as a British Aerospace 125 — which is a twin-jet business class aircraft.) has presented Belizean law enforcement officials with a major challenge: how to move the mid-sized jet from the village road, where it is now under the guard of Belize security forces. Although it is most likely still airworthy, reportedly, there are no pilots in Belize who could fly it from its present location.
The passenger seating for the jet has been removed, which suggests that the space was used for loading cargo—in this case, drugs, most likely cocaine that is bound for the United States’ illegal drug market.
A jet plane is not a quiet aircraft; its landing is noisy because of its propulsion engines. Yet this plane not only landed, but its cargo was offloaded, before it disappeared without a trace.
An attempt was obviously made to set it on fire, but it appears that whoever thought about setting it ablaze had a change of mind, for the possible reason that setting fire to such a large aircraft would bring authorities to the area more quickly.
The Orange Walk Police formation, in whose jurisdiction the plane landed, has not issued any report to the media concerning the aircraft, and the officer in charge did not return our phone calls, so the country has been left in the dark, as far as this particular drug plane is concerned.
Did the plane land here in an attempt to refuel? Did it drop off its cargo here? Were any traces of illicit drugs found on the plane? Who was involved in facilitating its landing? How long after the plane had landed did the police find out about it? What actions did they take? All these questions need answering.
Belize Civil Aviation has the expertise to trace the origin of the aircraft, but everything has been left in the hands of the police, because the plane was apparently involved in illegal activities and its landing here was an illegal landing, making it a police matter.
This particular jet was manufactured in the United States, in Petersburg, Virginia, in 1983, and last year, 2017, it was certified.
Belizean authorities therefore have to determine if the aircraft was stolen and brought here, and what are the legal rights of the owner to reclaim it from the Belize government, which technically now owns it.
According to a report on 7News, police had intelligence that the plane would land, and they had deployed a number of officers in the Orange Walk area in an attempt to intercept it. It’s been reported, however, that it took a couple hours for them to find the site on which the landing took place.